No. 15 Keith Takes Fifth at 2012 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational
No. 15 Keith has placed in all three tournaments for the Crimson this season (Gil Talbot).
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – No. 15 Steven Keith placed fifth at the 2012 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday, marking the second straight year the senior has finished on the podium at the event.
Keith needed a win in his first match on Saturday to secure his place on the podium and got it with an 8-0 major decision over Boise State's Travis Himmelman. Keith moved on to the consolation semifinals with a 3-0 decision over Ridge Kiley from Nebraska before suffering a 9-2 loss to Cornell's Michael Nevinger, the fourth-seed and ninth-ranked wrestler in the country at the weight. The senior bounced back, however, taking an 8-6 decision over eighth-seeded and 20th-ranked Nathan Pennesi from West Virginia in the fifth-place bout.
Keith opened the tournament seeded sixth at 141 lbs. and recorded a 5-0 decision over American's John Boyle after receiving a first-round bye. Keith fell to third-seeded and eighth-ranked Tyler Graff of Wisconsin in the round of eight to end the first day of competition.
Jeffrey Ott also reached the round of eight after knocking off Oregon State's Joey Palmer, 14-12, and fifth-seeded Tyler Iwamura from Cal-State Bakersfield, 10-4. The freshman was beaten by fourth-seeded and 11th-ranked Nikko Triggas of Ohio State, 15-5, to drop from the championship bracket and fell one-match short of reaching the podium when he was defeated by Colorado State University – Pueblo's Jesse Hillhouse, 6-3, in the 125 lbs. consolation bracket.
Cameron Croy, who had wrestled at 184 lbs. in each of his 77 matches leading up to this weekend, put together a pair of victories competing at 174 lbs. for the first time. The junior opened with an 8-2 decision over Cal Baptist's Kenneth Tribble but was defeated top-seeded and eighth-ranked Robert Kokesh from Nebraska, 17-2, in his second bout. Croy bounced back with a 6-3 decision over Utah Valley's Monte Schmalhaus before having his tournament ended by seventh-seeded and 20th-ranked Cody Caldwell of Northern Iowa, 9-2.
Josh Popple also recorded two wins at 184 lbs. after dropping his first match of the day, 7-3, to Cornell's Craig Scott, the seventh seed. Popple took out 10th-seed Stephen Doty of Virginia, 8-4, and Army's Collin Wittmeyer, 15-8, in the consolation bracket before falling to West Virginia's Lance Bryson.
Harvard will return to the mats after the holiday break at the 50th Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30 in Evanston, Ill.